Indiana’s Earlier Vaping Law Involved Marijuana
Mar 28, 2017 11:18 AM EDT
Long before Indiana's controversial vaping law drew the FBI's attention, a powerful Republican lawmaker had a similar piece of legislation drawn up. Like the vaping law, it included specific requirements that would have allowed a single security company, Lafayette-based Mulhaupt's Inc. as the gatekeeper for the entire industry - but this time, involving marijuana.
The measure, drafted in 2013, would have legalized medical marijuana in Indiana, requiring the state to select a single security contractor to license dispensaries, distributors, and manufacturers. The qualifications for that security contractor were utterly narrow that experts say it is unlikely any company other than Mulhaupt's would have qualified.
The lawmaker who had the medical marijuana legislation drafted is then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Brent Steele, who later became the executive director of the newly formed Vapor Association of Indiana, according to Indianapolis Star. The association represents Mulhaupt's and the few e-liquid makers it has approved under the vaping law.
Mulhaupt said he didn't know until very recently that his security firm was the only one to qualify as a security provider for the vaping industry and that his company never lobbied for the vaping law, according to Forbes. This is raising concerns about a possible link between the e-liquid law and what some believe is a secretive effort to legalize marijuana and obtain a potentially massive new market for profit.
Senate President Pro Tempore David Long and House Speaker Brian Bosma were among those concerned about the marijuana legislation. "I heard it enough that it put up the hair on the back of my neck," Long said.
The lawmakers stated they were both unaware of Steele's legislation but acknowledged they've been worried about a possible marijuana speculation at the Statehouse after the vaping law was passed in 2016. Steele, however, never filed the marijuana legislation and it was never made public.